CCE Theses and Dissertations

Ascertaining the Perceptions of Physical Therapists Utilizing Computer Technology

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Science


Center for Computer and Information Sciences


George Fornshell

Committee Member

Barry Centini

Committee Member

Burton Dunevitz


The focus of this investigation has been to obtain new knowledge regarding the importance of word processing software to the profession of physical therapy. Presently there are limitations in the knowledge base concerning the training, use of, and understanding of individual attitudes toward word processing software for physical therapists in patient care documentation. The limitations inherent in existing word processing software for physical therapists frequently requires each organization adapt patient care documentation methodology to comply with generic manufacturer software specifications.

An Equivalent Groups Posttest-Only Design was utilized to measure the abilities of thirty-six physical therapists to use word processing technology to accurately document patient care activities following a period of training. Eighteen therapists were randomly assigned membership to the control and experimental groups (n=36). Two types of training methodology were employed.

Traditional lecture was provided to each member of the control group on an individual basis regarding use of the word processing software WordPerfect 5.1. A fifty minute video tape presentation produced by the LearnKey Corporation introducing the software WordPerfect 5.1 was presented on an individual basis to each member of the experimental group. Following each method of training, members of the experimental and control groups were asked to type a prepared SOAP note using the WordPerfect software. Upon completing the typing of the SOAP note, each therapist was requested to print a copy of the document from the WordPerfect software program. Attitude surveys were provided to members of each group immediately following the training period to ascertain therapist perceptions concerning the use of computerized patient care documentation. The attitude survey was presented again one week later to each participant in the control and experimental groups.

The results of the study indicated no significant differences in performance between the control (lecture) group and the experimental (video) group regarding the time required to complete the typing task and the number of errors committed at a .05 level of significance. An attitude survey investigated therapist perceptions toward the computerized documentation system in six key job performance areas. Results indicated that therapists were generally positive in their attitudes concerning the computerized documentation system. Responses to the attitude statements were most often in agreement with the use of the computerized documentation system in the department of physical therapy.

The results of this investigation provides valuable information about training methodologies to be used for physical therapists in computer training. In order to achieve desired learning outcomes, training methodology must focus upon six key job elements and upon end user acceptance of the computerized documentation system.

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